Entering his IRC racing yacht in Airlie Beach Race Week and escaping the winter chill of Tasmania seemed like a very good plan to Dr Anthony Lyall.
Cougar II powering to windward in the opening race of the Crown Series Bellerive Regatta - Crown Series Bellerive Regatta 2012
Having purchased the powerful Transpac 52 Cougar II in December 2011, his first race in the yacht was a few weeks later in the Sydney to Hobart where they came 13th over the line and 11th on handicap. He is now looking forward to bringing some of the Sydney to Hobart crew up to compete in the Queensland regattas in August. He will campaign with his crew in the Sydney to Gold Coast regatta and then head up to the Whitsundays for Airlie Beach Race Week.
Since taking ownership of the speed machine, Tony has had some impressive results and boat speeds, taking line honours in three long distance races earlier this year.
However, February saw the first buoy race for Tony and his crew and with two windward/leeward races and one triangular race during Race Week, this will be an area they will be keen to perfect. She will also be the boat to beat on the passage races around the island and is sure to record some fast times.
Tony says he will be bringing the yacht up the coast from Tasmania with a mixture of 'family and crew' and says that although they have been on sailing holidays in the Whitsundays this will be their first time competing in the area.
He says, 'it is a big project to get organised and the biggest part is getting the boat up there. We will stop at different ports and have a meal here and a drink there.'
The delivery team have 10 days to get the yacht from the Gold Coast to Airlie and hope to have favourable weather conditions to make the most of the trip. 'Our families are looking forward to coming up to Airlie Beach for the event. Not all of them are racing, some are flying in, but they all see it as a great opportunity for a holiday.' Tony says, 'I have been sailing since I was a kid, but as we are all amateurs, any experience we can get racing is worthwhile. Of course the weather in Queensland in August is also a motivating factor.'
Having travelling from as far south as you can on the east coast, one might imagine the crew from Cougar II will turn the ‘heat up’ and be well worth keeping an eye on as they strive towards winning their division. She will also draw attention as a sleek and powerful looking racer.
Airlie Beach Race Week starts on 9 August and there is still time to register your entry online at www.airliebeachraceweek.com.au